Suffering with a substance abuse problem can be agonizing. It can be equally challenging for you if you’re watching a family member or friend spiral battle an addiction. However, there are ways you can help. Everyone in recovery benefits from being supported.
Support is especially helpful to someone new to recovery. There is a difference between supporting someone and enabling their addiction. To help you make this critical distinction, let’s explore five ways to support someone starting the recovery process.
Essentially, it is impossible for someone without a substance abuse disorder to truly understand the person who is suffering. However, it can be extremely supportive to absorb as much knowledge about the disease of addiction as you can.
There is literature and organizations dedicated to helping people without an addiction problem learn about a disease that is both cunning and baffling. Being aware of the physical and emotional struggles involved in recovery will help you better understand the process.
When you take the time to learn about the baffling disease of addiction, you will inherently develop a better understanding of the challenges for the sufferer. It is understandable that someone who does not suffer from an addiction to wonder why they just don’t stop.
Again, the cunning perplexity of addiction easily escapes the understanding of someone who does not suffer. By learning about addiction, you will become an understanding source of support. This does not mean you enable. Even though your understanding is better, you still must be honest.
Another important part of being supportive of someone in recovery is the need to be honest. When behaviors bother you, you have every right to voice your frustration or disappointment. Be honest with how certain behaviors make you feel.
Avoid placing parameters on your feelings. Another important way honesty helps someone in recovery is to share how much you love and care about the person. Through love and honesty, you will become an encouraging part of the recovery process.
At the risk of lauding someone’s efforts towards living clean and sober, encouragement is still a vital way to support them. By adhering to your commitment to be honest, you can still offer support and encouragement to someone in recovery.
Encouragement can be as simple as telling someone how proud of them you are. You may be able to help by mentioning little reminders. You can provide encouragement without being an enabler. Encourage someone in recovery, but avoid working their program. They must do the work, but you can shower them with encouraging support.
The final thing you can do to help someone in recovery is possibly the most important. Each of the first four will help you exercise this one. Patience does not mean condoning bad behavior or a relapse. Remember, support is helpful, enabling can be destructive.
However, using your improved knowledge of addiction and enhanced understanding of the disease, you will automatically develop better patience. It’s hard to watch someone struggle with a substance abuse disorder. Remember, millions have found recovery. Be patient, especially with someone new to recovery.
Addiction can not only devastated the life of the sufferer, but it can consume family and friends as well. If you are someone watching a loved one struggle with an addiction, begin by improving your own knowledge. Try your best to understand how baffling addiction can be.
Be honest about your feelings, and try to encourage the person to seek help. Help is available, all they have to do is ask. There is a wonderful way to live that is free from drugs and alcohol. It begins with a simple request for help. The first thing you can do to help is to show support for this simple, but life-changing step.